Cape Town blossoms at City Nature Challenge




African News Agency


THE RECENT City Nature Challenge contest, which encouraged people to discover plants and wildlife in urban areas across the globe, saw the City of Cape Town finish in second place in two of the three categories. The city bagged second place in the number of species recorded category and the observations recorded category, as well as fifth place in the participating observers category. Participant Rebecca Larkan, 15, a member of Cape West Girl Guides, said: “The City Nature Challenge made me more aware of the natural diversity in Cape Town. Most of the plants I observed I had seen before, but I never knew their names. It was very interesting to find out what they were called. “Nature is important to me. I really enjoy exploring God’s creation and there’s a lot of it to enjoy.” The project co-ordinator of Cape West Girl Guides, Melinda Lottering, said they had fantastic weather for the challenge. “I think people in Cape Town love being outdoors and we have such wonderful open spaces available to visit. The City makes their reserves available free of charge for this competition, which is an added bonus. “A number of members participated again this year and I’m impressed by their increased observations. Girl Guides love earning badges, so all our observers will be getting a badge to wear proudly on their uniform.” Cape Town deputy mayor and Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said: “These events encourage people to explore the wild and tame animals and plants in their cities, and to compare them with other cities around the world. It also exposes people to new recreational activities and spaces and instils an appreciation of the diverse environments in our cities, open spaces, parks and reserves. “Finally, it provides a good chunk of on-the-ground data, some of which will be valuable to researchers and updating species lists as environmental prioritisation maps. “A special thanks to all the participants, and especially to the people who helped identify 80% of the 66 000 observations that were recorded in Cape Town,” he said.